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TEGNA misses revenue estimates as merger looms

(Logo: TEGNA/Handout; Graphic: The Desk)

Local television broadcaster TEGNA missed revenue estimates for the final three months of 2022, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report released on Monday.

The report showed TEGNA brought in just $917.1 million during its fourth financial quarter, below the $963.2 million that Wall Street analysts had expected.

No conference call with investors or reporters was held on Monday, as TEGNA is still waiting regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition by Standard General, a deal that could be destined to fail.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transferred scrutiny of the $5.4 billion proposed merger to an administrative law judge, a move that will likely delay the close of the sale beyond the May 22 deadline that both parties imposed.

The deal has been held up largely along regulatory lines since it was proposed one year ago this month.

The FCC appears concerned that Apollo Global Management, the investment firm that controls Standard General, might have too much control over local ad market prices in areas where TEGNA and Apollo’s other local broadcast entity, Cox Media, operate. Those markets include Atlanta and Seattle, which both rank in the top 20 television markets in the country.

Regulators are also worried that the merger could give Apollo greater ability to negotiate higher retransmission consent fees against cable, satellite and streaming television providers. As The Desk reported last year, TEGNA’s retransmission consent fees charged to cable and satellite companies have already topped its advertising revenue, to become one of the most-lucrative parts of its business.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).